Essentials of Language Editing

Instructor: Murugaraj Shanmugam

Duration: 13 weeks

Modules: 4

Skill level: Beginner

Course Overview

“Essentials of Language Editing” is a specialization, a course of courses, to launch you into a successful copyediting career. The course covers the essentials of three important components of copyediting – grammar and style, punctuation, and MS Word. Each module/topic is supplemented with editing practice to provide the aspiring language editor a glimpse of editing. Select candidates may also receive an opportunity to work as interns with us.


While most of the topics of this course are applicable for editing any genre, our examples,  practice papers, assessments and editing internship are all designed around academic publishing.

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to find employment with any of the typesetting companies in India (here is a list of Indian typesetting companies) and abroad or become a freelancer.

Who is this course for?

This is a great course for you if


you aspire to become a language editor


you are a style editor who wants to move ahead in your career


you are a language editor who is looking for a refresher course to reinforce your learning


you are contemplating career change to achieve work–life balance

What makes one a great copyeditor?

You can become a great copyeditor if


you are strong in grammar


you have a flair for reading


you have an eye for detail


you are inquisitive

Wanna to read more about these qualities?

How is the course delivered?

The course may be accessed via our learning portal, which includes learning material, practice quizzes, and assessments, via self-paced online modules. Discussions are held via an exclusive forum community.

Each week is complete in itself in that the learning week begins with a live session of the topic(s) of the week, followed by practice papers and assessment, and finally editing sample passages of the topic(s) covered in this week. Thus, each topic completes the full cycle of (1) introduction of the concepts, (2) reinforcement through practice, (3) validation through assessments and (4) application through editing samples.

Course Content

Module 1: Grammar & style

This module covers the basics of grammar and style required to carry out light editing with confidence. Topics include Engish and its variants, focussing on American and British English, subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, article usage, review of basics as needed, abbreviations, numerals, names and terms, citations and cross-references

Module 2: Punctuation

Using a functional approach this module explores how various punctuation marks can be used to convey the intended message. Topics include mechanical aspects of comma, colon, hyphens and dashes; punctuating lists; combining clauses; end punctuation; quotations; and double punctuation.

Module 3: MS Word for editors

Microsoft Word being the most popular writing platform, this module covers the essential features that every editing beginner should know. Topics include setting user name, proofing language, track changes, comments, find and replace, as well as understanding the different layouts.

Module 4: Mentoring

The most important component of learning a skill is to practice. This module includes thoughtfully designed editing samples that cover the topics of learning. Previously enrolled learners have endorsed this module as an invaluable part of their learning.

Frequently asked questions

What is an instructor-led course and how is it different from the regular version?

The regular version is self-paced: you decide the time and pace of learning. Learning is completely flexible. The instructor-led version follows the exact same materials, but the pace is set by the mentor. You are given weekly learning goals and learn as a group. Learning as a group and more time with the mentor offer you a better learning experience.

What is covered in this course and how?

“Essentials of Language Editing” – as the name indicates – covers the most basic topics that will help you initiate your editing career. The course contains four modules: grammar and usage, punctuation, basics of style editing (such as the use of numerals and formatting), MS Word features for editors and mentoring.

How long does it take to complete this course?

Being instructor-led, this course will need 3 months to complete.

Is there a specific time for the classes?

Largely no. The course is structured as modules, lessons, topics, practice quizzes, and assessments and is available in our learning portal that you can access at your convenient time. However, there will be periodical live sessions, which will usually fall on weekends or holidays. During these live sessions, we will discuss any questions you may have, not only from the topics you learned but also on copyediting career in general.

Do I get editing practice in this training?

Yes – a big YES! The course in intuitively structured so that you get plenty of editing practice and are confident about copyediting a manuscript at the end of the training programme. Here is how the course is designed:

    1. Each module (which may be considered a standalone mini course) is divided into lessons and topics.
    2. Practice papers follow each topic to reinforce learning – for example, you learn a few rules and keep practising to master it.
    3. Practice papers at the end of each lesson provide you practice on editorial decision-making – for example, you are given a set of sentences that is a mix of the topics covered in that lesson, which provide you the practice to pick the correct rule to apply.

In these two cases, you know something is wrong, possibly where the error is too. Thus, these quizzes provide you with practice for mastery of the associated topic.

    1. Each module has sample passages at its end. At this level, you are not presented with sentences with errors, but a regular passage that you will edit – you analyse what is right and what is wrong and apply the relevant learning.
    2. On completion of the grammar & usage, punctuation and style editing modules, you enter the mentoring period. During this phase, you edit around 15 sample passages covering humanities and social sciences (HSS) and STEM background. Thus, by the time you complete the training, you would have edited around 30 sample passages.

Thus your learning shapes up so beautifully that you won’t even recognize that you are ready for editing.

When do I start editing actually?

You start editing passages from week 1! Editing passages is not reserved for the end. As and when you master a topic, you edit a passage too. The course has as many as 25 sample passages for editing. At the end of the training, you are familiar with the academic style of writing, will have mastered the basic concepts for light editing and will be confident about editing live.

Does the course use everyday-English examples? It would be easier to understand the concepts, if so.

Let me first tell you that this course specializes in academic editing, which is dominated by STM (scientific, technical and medical) publications. Everyday-English examples would be a great idea to explain concepts, but you will end up looking at a completely different way of writing in academic works. So the course uses a very minimal level of examples from everyday English and extensively uses example sentences and practice papers from academic works. This approach introduces you, the learner, to academic writing style. By the time you complete the training, you would have practised more than 1000 sentences and become familiar to this writing style. Thus, you will not be baffled by a sudden shift in the writing style if it were all everyday English examples.

Are there video lessons in the course?

As of now, there are no video lessons. While some modules may have, mostly this is not video-based teaching-learning. Learning materials are available as modules, topics, practice quizzes and assessments.

Do I get a course certificate at the end of the course?

Yes, you do. Not just at the end of the course, but at the end of every module. As and when you successfully complete a module, you earn a course certificate. Every accomplishment needs to be honoured and celebrated – why wait until the end? It is a good idea to flaunt each of your accomplishment, so recruiters and prospective clients know that you are serious and systematic!

Murugaraj Shanmugam

Founder, Editor's Essentials

Murugaraj Shanmugam has been a copyeditor for nearly 20 years, in most part of which he trained and set up copyediting teams for typesetting companies in India. He has been an independent trainer since 2018 when he founded Editor’s Essentials.

Instructor: Murugaraj Shanmugam

Duration: 13 weeks

Modules: 4

Skill Level: Beginner

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